In 1968, Archie Tanaka purchased the old Shigenaga store on Lower Main Street in Wailuku. He, along with his wife, Hifumi Tanaka, transformed the quaint area into what is now known as Archie’s.
Forty-nine-years after establishing itself in Wailuku, Archie’s, full of its original charm, will close its doors on September 30.
“My parents opened the restaurant and my mom used to work at Hokama’s Music Sales and she used to cook there,” said daughter Margie Albete. “She had a vision to open up her own place.”
At that time, the restaurant was known as Archie’s ONE and had six stools and three small tables. Years later, after establishing regular customers with their specialized menu of Japanese food and local favorites, Archie Tanaka purchased a larger space across from his original post.
“From the time I can remember, in high school, I used to waitress and everything used to revolve around the restaurant,” said Margie Albete. “…Back then, we catered, so we’d get up at like two in the morning, help our parents cater, and then go to school.”
Training under his mother-in- law, Tom Albete learned the secret recipes from Hifumi Tanaka and eventually transitioned into taking over cooking full-time.
“We took over in 2007, but we pretty much started handling everything right after Archie died in 2002,” said Tom Albete.
He says that a customer favorite is hamburger steak, but that the restaurant is also known for its nabeyaki udon.
“We have some really loyal customers and we just wanted to thank all our customers for their patronage over the years,” said Margie Albete. “That’s the reason why we stayed in business.”
Quotes have been edited for clarity.